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Other Forage

Find production tips on specialty or non-traditional forages – from cover crops to corn stover, and sorghums to small grains or brassicas.

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Current prices for alfalfa hay and many other feeds are causing beef and dairy producers to give fresh consideration to alternative forage sources for cattle. Kentucky bluegrass straw is a little-used feedstuff that can be successfully fed to dairy cattle; in addition, feeding bluegrass straw reduces air emissions from field burning. In the Animal Sciences Department at Washington State University, we have evaluated bluegrass straw for dairy cows in late lactation. We limited bluegrass straw to less than 15 percent of the diet for lactating dairy cows.

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Forage quality is one of the key driving factors that determine milk production, rumen health and profitability on dairy farms. The benefits of high-quality, highly digestible forages for use in dairy cattle rations is widely accepted by both dairy producers and the nutrition advisors that work with them.

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Forages are the foundation for building diets for dairy cattle. The quality of these forages directly impacts forage intake, animal performance and ultimately profitability. As the quality of forages decline, consumption of that forage decreases and the amount of grain or byproducts which must be fed increases. The cost for a unit of performance increases or the animal cannot perform (i.e., milk or gain) to the optimum level, lowering profitability to the animal owner. These relationships are especially true with young and high-performance ruminants, such as high-producing dairy cows.

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Forage testing assesses the nutrient composition of forages and permits a producer to develop feeding and marketing strategies. This [article] has been developed to inform livestock or cash-crop hay producers of the benefits of forage testing. Information on different analytical procedures, terminology, sampling procedures and the application of results are presented.

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Forages have always been an important source of nutrients to the dairy cow. Producing high-quality forages can increase dairy efficiency and help reduce the feed costs associated with purchasing added supplements and concentrates. In addition, with the constant influx of new technology and innovations, forage management has become more sophisticated and provides a greater economic significance to dairy herd profitability.

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The feeds selected for use in the ration have an influence on overall dietary phosphorus concentration. If no inorganic mineral phosphorus source is added, the only way to change phosphorus content is to change the amounts and proportions of feeds used. Even when all inorganic phosphorus has been removed, rations are still sometimes over the recommended amounts.

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